The dream of a short — and I mean really short — boot cycle is getting closer to reality. As it stands, though, even these experienced IT guys had to chop quite a lot off from already lean systems in order to hit their goal of CPU and drives idle after only 5 seconds. And on an Eee PC, no less.
I’m not the most informed guy on Linux boot processes, but it sounds like they really didn’t cut anything truly critical (that’s manifest of course because the system boots), and you’d be surprised how much time can be saved by customizing the boot process based on what the machine does and doesn’t use. Not running licensed drivers? Don’t need the license verification tool — 2.5 seconds saved. Only using web mail? Don’t need sendmail — 2 seconds saved. Then with more optimization (including a lot of hacking of the X Windows System) and a lot of elbow grease, they had it at a hair less than 5 seconds. The boot graphs are interesting and the article is informative even if you have interest in optimizing your Windows or OS X system, so check it out.